Building successful school – community collaboration in Indigenous school settings

Building successful school – community collaboration in Indigenous school settings Conference Paper

AARE 2017: Education: What’s politics got to do with it?

  • Author(s): Ferguson, Cath, Gower, Graeme
  • Published: 2017

Abstract: Effective communication and collaboration between schools and the communities they are in can bring about improved student achievement. However, it is often difficult for both the school and the community to establish a good relationship for collaboration to occur. There are many reasons for this: cultural and language differences make it difficult for shared understandings; priorities differ so that the goals of the two groups can't be reconciled; interests differ so that the issues one group considers important are not valued by the other. Many of these issues are invisible to the people in both groups so that reaching consensus can be impossible and so the benefits that children may experience do not occur. In a review of literature on school-community collaboration, Wildy and Clarke (2012, p. 3) reported that "programs which are successful have grown out of partnerships between communities and schools. Successful partnerships are initiated by either a member of the school community or of the local community". They noted that successful programs require interest, communication and support from both the school and the community. For remote school principals, the capacity to lead such change is hampered by the many pressures on them, their limited experience in the role, and an absence of support (Jorgensen & Niesche, 2011). The complexities involved in securing functional school-community collaboration are likely to make a successful outcome unlikely. This paper will present the findings from a small pilot research study on the implementation of initiatives to build strong school-community relationships in rural and remote Indigenous school settings. It will also discuss the challenges that may inhibit the establishment of successful school-community relationships/collaboration and furthermore, how these challenges can be addressed.

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Ferguson, Cath, Gower, Graeme, 2017, Building successful school – community collaboration in Indigenous school settings, Conference Paper, viewed 13 June 2024,

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